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Wind turbine technicians at risk of fatal accidents due to training gaps  

Credit:  Caroline Wilson | Evening Times | www.eveningtimes.co.uk ~~

Wind turbine technicians are at risk of fatal accidents without regular safety training, Glasgow study found.

Technicians struggled to recall key emergency rescue steps within a month of initial training in tests by Glasgow Caledonian University.

Union leaders last year called for enhanced safety training after two workers died at windfarms in Scotland.

The GCU study tested 30 wind technicians and found competency levels dropped rapidly within one month of initial training.

Wind technicians are required to carry out maintenance and repairs on commercial-scale turbines, with an average height of 60 to 100 metres.

Current guidance, from trade associations RenewableUK and the Global Wind Organisation (GWO), requires operators to have rescue training every 24 months.

Dr Kenneth Lawani, lecturer and researcher in Construction Management at GCU, said: “The research shows the level of skill and knowledge drops rapidly after a month and progressively afterwards.

“Every time you fly in a plane, you receive a full safety briefing to remind you of what happens in an emergency. If you work offshore, every time you embark on a helicopter ride, you watch a video of what you need to do in case there’s a crash.

“Why don’t we have something like that for wind turbine technicians? Accidents don’t happen every day but if something goes wrong, it can be fatal.”

The GCU research team, which includes Dr Lawani and Professors Billy Hare and Iain Cameron, believe video technology and mobile apps can offer a cost-effective way to deliver top-up refresher training.

Dr Lawani added: “Digital technology is becoming more affordable and VR is already being used for pilot training and practice, and in the medical profession for surgeons. Apps would also be a quick way to offer a visual reminder of the emergency steps.”

Steven Dillon, regional coordinating officer at Unite Scotland, said: “We fully support the findings of this study. Safety briefings need to be regularly reinforced and workers also must have the confidence to raise safety concerns.”

Source:  Caroline Wilson | Evening Times | www.eveningtimes.co.uk

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

The copyright of this article resides with the author or publisher indicated. As part of its noncommercial effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Send requests to excerpt, general inquiries, and comments via e-mail.

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